A Guest Post From A Former Staffer Of A Former President
Posted by bmac on June 25, 2008
Justine California (not her real name) was a Clinton staffer during his first term. I have no way to prove this, but based on email correspondence with her, I happen to believe this is true. You can decide for yourselves. She does not want to Hillary bash, or dish dirt, (sorry) but she has some good observations, as she has personal experience with the Clintons, something I think is pretty damn interesting. Instead of just having a Q&A, I suggested she write a post as a jumping off point, and let her pick the topic and roll with it. I think she did a pretty good job.
Small Cap CEO meets the Feudal Lord.
and will campaign together this week.
Yes, this event has everything to do with the title line above. I don’t need to tell you who is whom. You already know.
Management style is something I do every day. I founded a tech startup last year, and it’s not my first. As an entrepreneurial, libertarian leaning Californian, my management style has a lot to do with everyone carrying their own bag, and taking responsibility for outcomes.
Before my tech startup life? I was a young, underpaid Washington staffer. My pathway in the communications, event planning and fundraising realms did bring me into support roles for the Clinton administration for a time.
Why me? Because, even though I was not at all a Democrat, I was young and for some reason willing to get paid almost nothing to get kicked around by glammed out feudal lords. I mean, the Clinton people. But the cool part is that this stunning medieval movie was seen up close and unrehearsed.
While the happenings, victories and defeats of both the Republican and of 2008 have been thoroughly overanalyzed, I’ve seen less examination of the candidate’s internal management styles, financial policies and “corporate” choices than I perhaps wanted. Media analysis tends to favor a focus on each candidate’s outward presentation of issues, personality, persuasion, empathy, or fashion choices – rather than the essential internal building processes by which they are created.
But what about the gap between internal (campaign) and external (public) management styles? What about that basic goal: running the company? I can design a great gadget, but if I cannot build, mobilize or sell that gadget, it doesn’t go anywhere.
If the gap is wide enough, an extraordinary amount of energy must be spent hiding – or at least compensating for – what’s going on inside, lest it contradict the outer brand and vision. Enough obsessive focus on the compensating, and you won’t see your own vision anymore.
That Hillary’s campaign suffered from such a huge gap is obvious.
But how much of this gap came from “learned and earned” behavior – from the ways of her husband’s presidency?
I offer my own viewpoint to this one. Hillary, in the eyes of many, and perhaps in her own eyes – was Bill Clinton’s Vice President. She ran from this long past – and secret -position, and from its learning. The strengths and weakness she exhibited on the trail are consistent with this viewpoint. She interestingly enough, did not run as a Senator, though she clearly is one.
I am not opening a Hillary bashing session . I am, as a female business owner and CEO, desirous of an eventual female presidency – ideally a more conservative candidate who shows Hillary’s level of grit and intellect.
But right now I’m looking at this from an MBA’s point of view.
Why does Obama clearly appear to be the better CEO of the two, the small cap, exponential growth pick? Why does Hillary appear as the walled-in, moated feudal lord, more about vassal loyalty than colleague merit? How did this happen internally? What is the Clinton business style defined by, and why is it so different from the Clinton public persona (I speak of both Clintons here.) What comparisons can you make to the corporate world to illustrate your view?
Due to my briefly Clintonic past, I may cite actual observations within this discussion. These observations are not metaphysical truths – they are merely the subjective viewpoints of a fly on the wall. But sometimes the fly on the wall sees more angles of the room than the invited guests at the dinner table.